Honda Expands Global Product Supply Network; U.K.-Built Civic Si Hatchback To Be Sold in North America

4/11/2001 6:48:22 PM

In an expansion of Honda's Global Product Supply Network, American Honda Motor Co. today announced plans to source the 2002 Civic Si Hatchback from Honda of the U.K. Mfg., Ltd., beginning in early 2002. The annual sales volume for all of North America including Canada is estimated at approximately 15,000 units.

The decision follows a previous announcement in October 2000, in which Honda revealed plans to dual-source the next generation Honda CR-V for the North American market from Japan and the U.K. beginning in early 2002, and to export the Civic Hatchback from the U.K. to Japan beginning this fall.

"Our Global Product Supply Network provides us with a new level of flexibility on a global scale to meet the needs of our customers at the local level," said Tom Elliott, executive vice president of American Honda. "Through the network, we can provide our customers in North America with this unique Civic Si Hatchback, in addition to our existing Civic lineup based on Sedan and Coupe models."

The product supply strategy makes efficient use of the company's regional auto plants around the world based on Honda's global 5-region organization and the New Manufacturing System, which increases the speed, efficiency and flexibility of Honda manufacturing operations on a global basis. In this way, Honda can take advantage of a changing business environment or other market conditions.

To enhance the complementary relationships between different regions, in 1994, Honda created four regional operations based in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Oceania and Japan. In 2000, the Americas was further divided into two regions, North and South America. Chief operating officers in each of the five regions have decision-making autonomy with an emphasis on complementary relationships between the regions. For example, American Honda has exported more than 600,000 U.S.-assembled automobiles to more than 90 countries, including Japan and European nations since 1987. In this way, Honda's local plants serve not only as regional supply bases, but as part of a true global network.

Honda's ongoing introduction of its flexible New Manufacturing System also has helped accelerate implementation of the complementary Global Product Supply Network. The key attribute of this new production system is flexibility - both in terms of the relative ease with which multiple models can be built in a single factory and the number of different Honda plants that can build the same models.

The flexible New Manufacturing System makes increased use of commonized equipment and tooling which is more efficient - reducing model-specific investments, and affords a more rapid new model launch - allowing Honda to move more quickly into mass production. With major auto plants around the world standardized through the New Manufacturing System, Honda has increased its flexibility in determining where to build different models, while achieving high product quality no matter where those products are produced.

With the launch of the 2001 Civic, Honda introduced the New Manufacturing System at four major plants -- the East Liberty Plant in Ohio, the Alliston Plant in Ontario, Canada, the Suzuka Factory in Japan and the Swindon Plant in the U.K. The Sayama Factory in Japan also utilizes the new system.